Make Believe

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Well, we’re heading back home today, but before we go, we’re going to make a quick stop at Disney Hollywood Studios. We don’t plan on renewing our Disney Annual Passes next year because we want to do some other things, like Universal Studios, Sea World, etc., so wanted to make sure Adam gets to ride the “Tower of Terror,” which he’s been wanting to go one f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

But first: Pictures!

Family

Family

We had four Fast Passes for “Tower of Terror,” but nooo waaayy was Alex getting on there. So, Adam and the Birthday Girl rode it, while Dad and Alex went to one of Alex’s favorite attractions at Hollywood Studios, “The Frozen Sing-Along Celebration”. And Adam for all his bravado, still needs to hold Mom’s hand (or maybe it’s the other way around)…

Family Family

And the ride went something like this…

Whew! Glad I didn’t ride it! I’ll just stick with the “Frozen” thing!! 😉

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Tomorrow is Cindy’s birthday and surprisingly, she wanted to spend the weekend at Disney World. I was working in Tampa, so drove up here a little early to check-in and get things set-up. Cindy picked-up the boys early from school and headed down.

Happy Birthday Button

We’re staying at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and will be spending this evening and tomorrow at Cindy’s favorite park: Animal Kingdom.

Resort Room Looking out the window

We had a few minutes before we had to get to the park, so the boys chilled out for a bit in the hammocks on the beach outside the room…

Hammock

Soon it was time to go, so the boys dumped the sand out of their shoes and we took-off to Animal Kingdom. We had a Fast Pass for the “Expedition Everest” rollercoaster. Alex didn’t want to ride, so Cindy and Adam went on…

Expedition Everest

We also had a Fast Pass for the “Na’vi River Journey” in Pandora, so before we ate dinner, we visited the Na’vi…

Na'vi River Journey

and then took some pictures…

Pandora Waterfall

then, as the sun was going down, we enjoyed our Pandora feast…

Pandora Drink Pandora Meal Pandora Dessert

After dinner, we had our last Fast Pass for the “Rivers of Light Nighttime Experience,” which turned out to be AWESOME!

River of Light

River of Light

River of Light River of Light

River of Light

River of Light

When the show was over, we headed for the gate because the park was closing. What a fun night! Back at the hotel, the boys chilled a bit before bed…

In Bed

but not for long! Tomorrow will be a busy day!

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the kids paid a visit to the oldest Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum in the world…

Ripley Ripley

I remember reading “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” in the Sunday comics when I was a kid (and evidently, after almost 100-years, you still can)…

Ripley

I find it very interesting that in this cartoon from January 2016, they used an image of Barnabus Collins, the vampire from the late 60’s soap opera, “Dark Shadows”.

And “Believe It or Not”, despite the freezing temperature of the water (okay, maybe I’m exaggerating), they went to the beach afterward…

Beach

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Alex is watching a movie in his makeshift theater…

Movie Theater

What an imagination!

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The boys have a class history project to present. Both of them had to choose a famous person and research their life, develop a timeline of their life and document pertinent history, put together a storyboard, and come to school dressed AS that person. They also have to answer questions from their classmates about their subject person.

Alex chose Sitting Bull…

Alex's School Project

While Adam chose Jackie Robinson…

Adam's School Project

They helped Mom and Dad make their costumes…

Costumes

and joined their classmates in presentations…

Presentations Presentations

Mom was able to attend and said they both did very well. Their teachers must have agreed because they each received an “A”!

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ALL ABOARD! With gold tickets in hand and the boys dressed in their pajamas, we boarded The Polar Express in Tavares, Florida, for our trip to the North Pole…

Polar Express Tickets

Today’s experience was our Christmas gift from the boys’ Godparents, Chris and Sherrie, and is based on the more-than-30-year-old Christmas classic, The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsberg, and the 2004 animated movie directed by Robert Zemeckis.

Prairie Dogs

Each car in the train had it’s own steward (ours was named “Hannah”), who directed all of the show’s activities, including the conductor visit, the hobo, the reading of the story by the author, singing Christmas carols, and the hot chocolate song complete with dancing waiters in the isle. She also punched the tickets, of course…

Steward Hannah Tickets Punched

When we reached the North Pole, Santa joined us and presented all the kids on the train with “the first gift of Christmas,” a silver bell…

Santa

The whole experience lasted just over an hour and was well worth the two-hour drive to Tavares! Although Adam questioned: 1) why the trip to the North Pole only took 30-minutes (“because the movie was two-hours”); 2) why, upon reaching the North Pole, there was no snow; 3) why Santa’s gray mustache wasn’t white like his beard; and 4) why he couldn’t have more hot chocolate.

( sigh )

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So, this year we’re changing things up a bit and will enjoy our Thanksgiving dinner at my personal favorite Disney park: Disney Hollywood Studios!

Tram Ride DHS Statue

There was so much to do. We had our Fast Passes which made it pretty easy to get to the other activities we wanted to do…mainly just enjoying the Christmas music and awesome decorations,

Christmas Tree Christmas Tree

and…

SANTA!

Santa

Santa

Who also was seen doing a little breaking-and-entering…

Santa

Anyway, we scheduled an early dinner at Hollywood & Vine, where we got to mingle with the Disney characters…

to start, Goofy and I shot the breeze for a bit…

Dad and Goofy

then, we brought the family in…

Family and Goofy

And while we waited on Mickey and the gang, we helped ourselves to Thanksgiving dinner!

Thanksgiving Dinner Thanksgiving Dinner

And in-between going back for second helpings, we hung-out with some Disney VIPs…

Mickey Donald
Minnie Daisey

After dinner, it was just starting to get dark and the Christmas lights we all coming on. Mom and Alex toured the Pixar Studio area, while Adam and I made our way over to the Rockin’ Rollercoaster…and whoooosh!

Rocking Rollercoaster

And that about wrapped-up our day. We watched the light show on the Tower of Terror…

Lights

and stopped for one last picture…

Family

And best of all? NO DISHES TO WASH!!

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It’s here…it’s finally here! The boys have been going on about Halloween for a couple of weeks now and counting down the days. Soon their coffers will be filled with CANDY!

This year, Adam was a S.W.A.T. officer, and Alex was the Red Power Ranger. Long gone are the days they would dress in similar costumes, as each year they become more and more diverse in their interests. But hey, they’re both crime fighters this year, right?

SWAT and Power Ranger

This year Charlie even got into the act, as a Rocker with his jean jacket and guitar…

Charlie Rocker

Meanwhile, in Alabama, grandkids Oliver and Carter John look AWESOME as Woody and Buzz…

Woody and Buzz

and Kameran was Barb from Stranger Things. I think she did a great job!

Kam and Barb

As expected, the boys cleaned-up on Candy…enough to last them into December. And Charlie absolutely loved the walk (and the attention).

Happy Halloween

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The Future is Now at Epcot’s Test Track, where the boys’ got to design their own car and test it’s performance…

Alex designs his car

This ride normally has wait times of 90- to 120-minutes. We had a Fast Pass, so the wait wasn’t no where near that long. Although the car design part was pretty cool, I think the ride was more hype than substance. Still, it’s worth the wait with a Fast Pass.

I think the best ride at Epcot is Soarin’ which is a flight motion simulator that takes you around the world within a 180° OMNIMAX laser projection screen. Anyway, Alex didn’t want to ride this one, so it was just me and Adam…

Soarin

And look who Cindy and Alex ran into while Adam and I were flying around the world…

Mom, Alex, and Tink

While visiting the aquarium, we run into Nemo’s pal, Bruce…

“Fish are friends, not food, but little boys are food. Definitely, food.”

Bruce and the boys

…and his buddy, Chum…

“A clownfish, really? Tell us a joke!”

Dad and Chum

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The school year is over for the boys and to kick-off the summer, we heading down to Disney Hollywood Studios–which happens to be my favorite of the Disney theme parks!

DHS Entrance

So much to do! First things first: The Rockin’ Rollercoaster…

Rockin Rollercoaster Entrance

LOVE THIS RIDE!

Rockin Rollercoaster

What else? There are 3D specs and Jawas…

3D Specs Jawa Boys

and a couple Storm Troopers harass an old lady on her scooter…

Stormtrooper

which turned-out to be a prelude to a little storm trooper recruiting by Captain Phasma of the First Order…

Anyway, it wasn’t all about Star Wars. There was “Pigs in Space”…

Pigs in Space

and the live Frozen show, which was absolutely hilarious!!

Frozen

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